Anthropogenic habitat interconnection provokes homogenization of allopatric freshwater fish: concordance of genetic and phenotypic evidence

Jiwon Heo, Yeon Seon Jeon, Myeong Hun Ko, Yong Jin Won

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthropogenic habitat alteration can rapidly disturb native fish species by hybridization with introduced species. In Korea, the construction of water conduits has unilaterally introduced the allopatrically separated fish species Cobitis tetralineata from the Seomjin River to the Dongjin River where its sister species C. nalbanti inhabits. To assess the impact of this secondary contact on the native species, we investigated the genetic and phenotypic characteristics of populations from the known hybrid zone and other river tributaries of the Dongjin River. Genetic studies of eight microsatellites, one mitochondrial gene, and five protein-coding nuclear genes showed a consistent admixture pattern. Multivariate morphological analysis with 29 meristic and morphometric characters exhibited hybrid populations’ morphological intermediacy to their two parental species. However, all the tributaries being confluent downstream of the Dongjin River were free from hybridization, protecting the native purebred species from the risk of genomic extinction. The present study calls attention to a genetic survey throughout the whole distributional range of native fish species to identify the location containing purebred natives and to evaluate the extent of hybridization, and helps set a conservation priority to prevent further expansion of the current genetic invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3335-3350
Number of pages16
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (Grant Nos. 2013R1A1A2062008 and 2019R1I1A2A02057134).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Anthropogenic habitat alteration
  • Cobitis fish
  • Conservation
  • Hybridization
  • Introduced species
  • Secondary contact


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